Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Eastwood Town

Hednesford Town

Osborne (47), Durrell (56)

(0) 0

(0) 2



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Elliott Durrell


Blyth Spartans (A) 25.8.12

The Pitmen made it two wins from two this evening, continuing their strong start to the new Evo-Stik season with victory over relegated Eastwood Town at Coronation Park

Perhaps unsurprisingly, manager Rob Smith named the same side as the one that had won against Frickley Athletic at the weekend, with the same five players also being named as substitutes

Eastwood's return to step three had seen them lose 2-0 at Marine on Saturday, amidst rumours of problems off the pitch for the Badgers. Former Hednesford assistant manager John Ramshaw, now manager at Eastwood, set his side up to go straight at the Pitmen from the off, taking advantage of the none-too-considerable slope that exists at Coronation Park. Elliott Durrell was lucky not to put the ball into his own net on six minutes, as a deep free-kick from the left was hacked over his own crossbar from close range

John Disney was also guilty of conceding a cheap corner a minute later, from which Eastwood almost took an early lead from; the Pitmen failed to fully clear the ball, allowing Danny Elliott to cross for Anthony Griffiths Jnr; his firm header beat Dan Crane, but crashed against the crossbar and over

Francino Francis tested Eastwood's resolve from a corner kick on ten minutes, heading over after Disney had clipped the ball back into the penalty area

Slowly, the Pitmen were getting more and more of the ball, particularly in midfield through skipper Dave MacPherson. His ball into the path of Durrell on twelve minutes saw the playmaker fire high over the crossbar

Eastwood thought they had taken the lead on fifteen minutes, as TJ Nightingale turned the ball past Crane, but was pulled up for an earlier offside flag against him

An acrobatic effort from Griffiths Jnr caught the Pitmen napping on seventeen minutes, as he tried his luck with an overhead kick following a corner. However, his effort flashed narrowly wide of Crane's left-hand post

The game entered a scrappy stage for the following fifteen minutes, as neither side could fashion a clear cut opportunity. Sam Barnes and Francis were getting the measure of the tricky Griffiths Jnr, whilst the towering defensive line of Romaine Graham and Elliott impressed many of the sparse crowd with their ability to shackle the dangerous duo of Neil Harvey and Aaron Rey

Despite this, Harvey almost put the Pitmen into the lead just before half time, as he latched onto Durrell's angled cross and headed past Ian Deakin in the Eastwood goal. However, the big striker had strayed into an offside position and the goal was disallowed

The final action of the first half saw Deakin make a smart save to turn away Rey's drive after the Hednesford striker had turned his man and created a yard of space to compose himself

A blistering start to the second half saw the Pitmen emerge on the front foot, and immediately claim the initiative with the opening goal on forty-seven minutes. Deakin's weak punch from a Durrell free-kick only succeeded in dropping at the feet of Jamey Osborne, who produced a superb lob to chip the Eastwood defence and the outstretched hands of Deakin

Rey's pace continued to carve out chances for himself, with the striker getting in behind the Eastwood defence on fifty-two minutes as he raced onto Disney's long ball. Deakin did well to smother Rey's shot at the near post, with a Graham just doing enough to put Rey off as he shaped to shoot

The Pitmen's attacking threat once again tore through the Eastwood defence on fifty-six minutes, with Durrell adding to his goal on Saturday with another strike. Nathan Woolfe broke down the Hednesford right-wing, before crossing in the direction of Harvey. Graham managed to block the way through to Harvey, but only succeeded in laying the ball into the path of the onrushing Durrell, who fired home from eighteen yards out

Another great chance fell to Rey on the hour mark, as he brought the ball out of the night sky after a free-kick from Woolfe was knocked down by Harvey. On this occasion, however, he clipped his shot high over the crossbar

Eastwood's response was fleeting, creating only half chances during the remainder of the match. Griffiths Jnr got the better of Disney on seventy-three minutes, but his cross evaded everyone as it flashed across the face of goal

With a large number of games to come in the next few weeks, manager Smith took the opportunity to rest two of his key performers on seventy-eight minutes, with strikers Harvey and Rey making way for Sean O'Connor and Michael Lennon respectively

Lennon should have broken his duck for the Pitmen just minutes later, firing across goal after being played in by Durrell but only finding an Eastwood defender in the way. As the ball was tossed back in, Lennon was gifted another great chance courtesy of O'Connor's knockdown but slipped as he shot and allowed Deakin to make the save low down

Phil Clarke made a late cameo in midfield, as he came on for Nathan Woolfe to see out the final moments of the game


A long trip to another one of last season's relegated sides, Blyth Spartans, is next up for the Pitmen. After consecutive wins, they will be confident of continuing their good start but will be wary of the threat Blyth offer, especially after winning 5-0 against Stocksbridge Park Steels this evening

Eastwood Town: Deakin ©, Smith, Riley, Elliott, Graham, Meikle, Hollis, Hanson, Nightingale, Griffiths Jnr, Piliero      Subs Unused: Troke, Simmons, Shaw, Raven, Andrew

Hednesford Town: Crane, Disney, Campion, Barnes, Francis, MacPherson ©, Osborne, Durrell, Harvey (O’Connor 78), Rey (Lennon 78), Woolfe (Clarke 86)      Subs Unused: Bailey, Melbourne